What Moves You?

a little boy is rescued from Haiti earthquake rubble

a little boy is rescued from Haiti earthquake rubble

People have long been moved by emotion, empathy-the capacity to feel for another. This characteristic was/is no more evident than during the rescue and relief efforts post Haiti earthquake. Hundreds of volunteers with international aid and non-governmental organisations were mobilised within days and bgan the arduous task of rescuing and providing relief to survivors of the devastating earthquake. Musicians, actors and other celebrities of international acclaim organised a ‘Hope for Haiti Now’ telethon-a fundraising event where they performed and received telephone donations-to contribute funds to the Haiti relief effort. This effort alone raised over US$57 million and it is understood that donations to Haiti relief have reached over US$ 500 million. So people are moving by tragedy. This was also evident during the devastation of New Orleans and other parts of America by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or the havoc wreaked by the Tsunami in Asia. People are moved by tragedy-the need to help those who are not in a position to help themselves -the need to assist those ravaged by natural disasters or pandemics.

SAAHTT, and other modern day abolitionists like Aaron Cohen, is moved by the Haiti earthquake tragedy as well. But beyond that, SAAHTT is moved by the increased vulnerability to trafficking of orphaned children in Haiti. SAAHTT is concerned by the ongoing undercover tragedy that is hidden from public sight and mainstream media channels like CNN and BBC. This is the tragedy of human trafficking in Haiti. There are no gruesome images that provide evidence of its occurence. But it is regrettably occuring nonetheless. The earthquake in Haiti has resulted in the disintegration of families and the total destruction of livelihoods. There is limited governance and social safety nets have all but collapsed. In addition, hundreds of children have been orphaned and are not secure. Traffickers are now taking advantage of the chaos in Haiti post the earthquake to prey on victims who are vulnerable and without hope. There are reports that traffickers are snatching children from hospitals and trafficking them. Ther are also cases were traffickers attempt to adopt orphaned children. Besides these incidents that have been reported, there is also increased vulnerability of Haitians who risk continued human rights violations and trafficking as the country is likely to take years to be rebuilt.

a survivor of the Haiti earthquake

a survivor of the Haiti earthquake

There is a need for increased vigilance by aid organisations and the US Army present in Haiti in terms of safeguarding victims particularly orphaned children. There is need for the continued presence of aid and non-governmental organisations in Haiti to ensure that aid efforts gradually shift from relief efforts to efforts that seek to rebuild the country thereby providing opportunities for Haitians to rebuild their livelihoods-this minimises the risk to trafficking. There is also a need for the mainstream media to uncover this human travesty called human trafficking that is occuring in Haiti hidden from the glare of cameras and news anchors. And lastly there is something you can do also-go here to see how u can help victims of the Haiti earthquake. It is heartening to note that the US State Department and UNICEF have already stepped up efforts to protect vulnerable children, partciularly orphans, from being trafficked.

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